PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies hinted they could skip Aaron Nola's final start before the All-Star break, and they confirmed Sunday afternoon that they will.
Nola will not pitch Thursday in Colorado. Instead, he will pitch a simulated game and use the time to rest his body and clear his mind. He allowed five runs in five innings Saturday in a 6-2 loss to the Royals, making him 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA in his last five starts. Nola retired the final 10 Royals he faced, striking out six of them, but it wasn't enough to keep him in the rotation.
"They talked to me beforehand," Nola said. "I understand the process. I'm still going to get my work in. I'm going to throw a simulated game, simulate a couple innings in Colorado. The main key and the important part is I feel healthy and feel strong right now."
The Phillies tried something similar in July 2013, pushing back a Cole Hamels start a couple days to try to clear his mind. Hamels disagreed that he needed a break at the time, although he was 2-11 with a 4.58 ERA.
Coincidence or not, Hamels went 6-3 with a 2.68 ERA in his final 16 starts.
"If you ask anybody, we all want to be pitching every fifth day," Nola said. "It's what they want to do, and I understand. But hopefully it will help. Any time you get some time off it's good. ... This is my first full season here, and they want to watch me, but I'm still going to go out and try to throw as many innings as I can."
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said they have not decided who will start Thursday, although left-hander Adam Morgan would be an option. He just left the rotation to make room for Vince Velasquez, joining the bullpen as a long man.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.